Revewing Past Bears Drafts Series; 2011

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Reviewing the Bears' drafts: 2011
    April, 16, 2014
    Apr 16
    9:00
    AM ET
    By Michael C. Wright | ESPN.com

    Here’s Part 3 of our series reviewing the past five drafts of the Chicago Bears.

    Finally, the Bears moved from under the limitations brought on by the Jay Cutler deal, and held a first-round pick for the first time since 2008. Too bad the club didn’t choose wisely (although bad luck played somewhat of a role).

    First-round pick: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

    Number of picks: 6

    [+] Enlarge[​IMG]
    Rob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsOffensive tackle Gabe Carimi, selected 29th overall in 2011, was a disappointment for the Bears.

    How they did: This draft yielded two major contributors in defensive tackle Stephen Paea and safety Chris Conte, but first-round pick Gabe Carimi was largely disappointing. Carimi started 16 games for the Bears in two seasons before the club traded him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he appeared to be worthy of his first-round pedigree early on. Carimi dislocated a kneecap in the second game of his NFL career, and was never the same during his tenure with the Bears. Though it would be easy to be critical of the Carimi pick, it appears some bad luck conspired against Chicago on this one.

    Pivotal pick: After three years without a first-round pick, the Bears needed to hit with Carimi, but they didn’t. The Bears needed to shore up a leaky offensive line going into this draft, and it appeared the chances for doing so with Carimi were good. Carimi had started in 49 games for Wisconsin at left tackle, won the 2010 Outland Trophy, and began his rookie season as the starting right tackle. Up until Carimi suffered the dislocated kneecap at New Orleans, he had been playing winning football. The Bears received a sixth-round pick for Carimi last June in the trade with Tampa Bay, which released him. Carimi signed with Atlanta in February, and will be reunited with former Bears offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Mike Tice.

    Best pick: No doubt, Conte struggled through the 2013 season. But he’s still the best pick of this class, and he’ll likely bounce back. Going into 2013, Conte was expected to put together a breakout season after producing 68 tackles in 2012, along with two interceptions and nine pass breakups. Conte finished last season with 90 tackles and three interceptions. He is coming off shoulder surgery, which means he’ll likely miss time at training camp. But if Conte’s rehabilitation goes smoothly, he has a good chance to win a starting job and return to the ascending player the team thought he was entering last season.

    Worst pick: Linebacker J.T. Thomas was a three-year starter at West Virginia, but turned in the lowest vertical at the 2011 combine (30 ½ inches), which raised questions about his explosion. Thomas caught the coaching staff’s eye early in camp after taking several first-team reps because of the rules at the time preventing veterans from practicing immediately coming out of the NFL lockout. But Thomas’ practice exploits never transferred onto the field, and he appeared to lack physicality. The Bears waived Thomas after the 2013 preseason, and he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I can't say the picks were bad but they sure haven't had the impact you'd like to see. Although there's still time for Paea and Conte to make more of an impact.

    I was a big Gabe Carimi fan and had he not injured his kneecap he may have been a decent RT if he could have ever learned to pass block. Tice has him back in Atlanta now so we'll see if he has anything left to offer. Bad pick? Give our need and where he was taken probably not. I think his injury was far more severed than we were ever told and that he was brought back far sooner than he should have been. He obviously wasn't ready.

    Paea was a good pick in round two and he's flashed some real potential as a Shade NT who can also penetrate and rush. Last year should have been a "coming out year" but he as hampered by a turf toe injury most of the year which makes it hard to judge just where he's at. Playing in a rotation with Ratliff this year should be his golden opportunity to show he deserves a contract extension.

    Conte is pretty much the same story as Paea. He had a decent second year and should have been even better last year and then wham! Everything fell apart and ended his season being seen as the "goat" in the loss to GB. Now he's out until July or August rehabbing from shoulder surgery and I'd say there's a 50/50 chance he may start the season on the PUP list. By my calculations he'll miss most if not all of camp and that isn't good for a guy fighting to keep his job.

    So although this draft wasn't a total loss it was just the last straw in some incredibly poor to mediocre drafts made by JA and his team. If nothing else his failure to draft well for OLinemen and WRs leaving Cutler with no protection and few weapons has to rank as maybe the second dumbest thing he did. Trying to blow smoke up our asses that we had good linemen and that Hester was a #1 WR was the dumbest.

    It's pretty easy to see that these three drafts are largely responsible for the situation Emery faced when he arrived still saddled with Lovie for one more year. It also explains his needs to have been active and to spend heavily in FA in order to get the roster back to a respectable level. JA was the kind or a GM Mikey McCaskey loved. He didn't overspend his budget and he kept a respectable if mediocre product on the field. Thank God those days are gone.

    Next up; Uncle Phil's first two drafts.
  3. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    The above quote says it all. This series is brutal to re-live.

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  4. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    LOL, sad ain't it? I actually think Paea is probably the best but NTs don't get noticed much when they're quietly going about there jobs. Nobody blamed him for losing the GB game either and even negative press get's you noticed.

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